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Key activity 4: Support for a culture of safety at school Safe schools, especially those built through extensive community participation, are the physical symbol of a community’s commitment to their children. These commitments need to be remembered and renewed regularly. To achieve and maintain a culture of safety within and beyond a school, communities should create opportunities to proactively remind themselves about school safety. The possibilities are many and ripe for creativity and student leadership. • Safety committees and clubs. Under staff guidance, students can form safety clubs to regularly discuss and address school safety. Students can be quite competent at identifying non-structural hazards from a checklist and can even participate with school staff and community members in maintenance audits. However, students should not be made responsible for assessing or addressing structural safety as they do not have the formal technical training required to do so effectively. • Disaster risk reduction curriculum. Geography, science and social studies offer good opportunities for introducing hazard awareness and safe construction concepts. As part of their assignments, teachers can have students explore how hazards are avoided or safely accommodated in their community. Students can identify hazard-resistant features of their school and interview maintenance staff about how ongoing repairs continue to protect the building. • School safety events. Students can hold youth safety rallies, inviting other schools to come and participate. These events can be days for students to voice their desire for safer schools to each other and the wider community. Parent-teacher associations can organise welcome events that orient incoming families to the school’s commitment to safety. Students, parents and staff can annually review and revise a community hazard map and evaluate how changes have affected their school site. Key activity 5: Scaling up and promoting accountability Even as school communities need to continue their commitment to safety, implementing actors need to build on good practice. They should identify successful examples of safe school construction and enhanced community capacity. To scale-up and promote safer school construction, humanitarian and development organisations should: • Make a public commitment. Commitments to safe school construction affirm children’s right to safety and education. These commitments also acknowledge the organisation’s moral duty to ensure every school built or retrofitted is safe. • Educate funders. Proactive aid is more valuable than reactive aid. Organisations should educate donors to be more nuanced in their expectations. Rather than count classrooms built with donor funds, donors should learn to count only safe classrooms built and insist on appropriate auditing practices that verify this safety. • Share lessons learnt. Organisations should document and share lessons learnt in community-based school construction, especially noting how decisions at each stage impact school safety and community capacity. When innovation emerges, they should pilot these new ideas and scale-up successful projects elsewhere. When failures occur, they should analyse the problems and identify necessary changes. In Nepal, youth organised a student summit in 2012 and invited students from other schools to join. Together they held a rally to raise awareness about natural hazard risks and disaster risk reduction. Photo: NSET. SECTION III: POST-CONSTRUCTION 89 • Enhance internal capacity. A commitment to every new school being a safe school means a commitment to knowing the extent of one’s expertise. Organisations should work with external experts to identify their own limited capacity and, where appropriate, develop training to build it. In addition to these actions, government agencies should also: • Establish policy tools and mechanisms for regulation and funding. For communities to manage or build safer schools, government agencies should provide communities with appropriate technical support during all stages of the process. They should also ensure funding and accountability are tailored to a community-based context and should develop targets and indicators for monitoring progress toward safer school construction (see the Decentralis ation of school construction case study in Section II). Students in Nepal work on different building models for earthquakeresistant design. Photo: Bishnu Pandey.